Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Over the years, I have made a few hand-drawn Valentine's Day cards for my beloved wife, one of which I posted here some time back. This year I decided to continue the theme of our last Christmas card, and when I made that decision I almost instantly got the vision of what it should look like. So I got out my sketchbook and drew this:


I was originally planning to ink it, and then to watercolor the inked version, but for some reason I decided to try something a little different -- I would apply the watercolors over the pencils instead.

Or to be completely accurate, I would watercolor a COPY of the pencils. So down to Mirage Studios I went, to use the color copier there (it does pretty well with heavier paper stocks), and after some trial and error, had managed to get a pretty decent copy of the pencil drawing on a sheet of heavy card stock.

I got out my little watercolor set and after a few hours ended up with this:


I was pretty happy with the result, and -- because I am still not brave enough to try doing a background in watercolor -- I decided to go for a computer-aided background, like the Christmas card, with one difference. This time, I thought I would do a quick wash of some colors on a separate sheet, using the watercolors, and then scan that, and use it for the background that I would insert via Photoshop. This was the result, and it came out a little funky due to the way the paper buckled during the application of the watercolors. But it was okay.


While I like the result, I decided to mess around with it a little bit in Photoshop, adding a few different filter effects. This is the one I decided to use.


It was the work of a few more minutes to select the background areas of the octopus image and paste the filtered ocean background into it, and this was the result:


I am happy to report that Jeannine liked her card. -- PL

7 comments:

Jeannine Atkins said...

Yes, I liked the card! Thank you. xo

Miserable Dreamer said...

Pete - the watercolors look great! I used a similar effect - scanned-in watercolor backgrounds - for my children's book.

I have a question - what type of watercolors do you use? I have the concentrated gel-type stuff that comes in tubes, that you mix with water. Are you using something similar, or something dry that you mix?

PL said...

"Miserable Dreamer said...
Pete - the watercolors look great!"

Thanks!

"I used a similar effect - scanned-in watercolor backgrounds - for my children's book."

Is this a published work?

"I have a question - what type of watercolors do you use? I have the concentrated gel-type stuff that comes in tubes, that you mix with water. Are you using something similar, or something dry that you mix?"

I'm a little embarrassed to say, as it seems so "unprofessional" or something, but I have been using a little set I picked up at a small art store in Bennington, VT a couple of years ago -- it's called the "Watercolor Wheel stack pack, and it is made by Chartpak (curiously enough, a local company in Leeds, MA, and they used to make many of the shading films I used as an illustrator).

The set consists of four round trays, each with six different colors. One cool feature is that each tray screws into the bottom of the next one, so you can securely carry these things all screwed together in a neat little block. And the clear cover also screws on, and it also functions when turned upside down as a palette with six sections.

The sets are available on amazon.com -- here's the URL:

http://www.amazon.com/Koh-I-Noor-Watercolor-Wheel-Stack-watercolors/dp/B0006OLQLC/ref=lh_ni_t_

I find it easy to use and although I suspect the tube watercolors are the way to go eventually, this works for me right now. -- PL

Miserable Dreamer said...

Thanks for the response! I like the stuff in the tubes because I feel like I can work with it almost like working with ink. It can be diluted, etc. Plus the tubes are labelled, and being colorblind, that's a huge help. I want to say I think I've seen something like the Chartpak set in my dad's studio.

My book is published! If you'd like to see it, you can check out buddyandbird.com (the book is called Buddy and Bird). It's a combination of traditional techniques mixed with computer coloring. In fact the main page has the very watercolor effect we're talking about.

usagiguy said...

I love to see step-by-step tutorials on how artists work. Thanks for posting this.

B.Thomas said...

Thumbs up to Peter for continuing to be a loving husband!

~ tOkKa said...

♥ ♥